Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: Best laid plans

May 18, 2016
By Diane Chiasson

Baking delicious goods is one thing. Making money off them is another. Here are some tips on how to write a business plan for success.

Ahhh, the smell of freshly baked bread or sweets! But what about that sweet smell of success? Having a business plan for your bakery can be the key to making your business thrive.

Since 2010, there has been steady growth in the market for bakeries in Canada, and projections for future growth are even more positive. Your business plan will help you to take advantage of these opportunities.

1. Write your story
When you write the story of why you wanted to start your bakery, you have an overview that can serve as an introduction for business plans you may need to present to banks or other financiers. More than this, you have a story you can use in your future branding and promotion of your business. Customers love to know the story behind the businesses they patronize, especially smaller ones. If you started baking out of your home and then everyone loved your baked goods so much you had to set up your bakery to cope with the demand, or if you inherited your bakery from a family member who had the secrets to a family recipe going back generations, brief descriptions of these stories are vital to your business plan.

2. Know your market
It’s imperative to do a market analysis that justifies the demand for products. Maybe you have been selling at local markets or fairs and selling out consistently. This kind of information should be front and centre in your market analysis. If you have survey information from your area or relevant statistics and demographic information for your potential customers and your area of operation, this all needs to be included here. Maybe you can find out the average amount people in the local area spend on eating out or on baked goods. What about current sales, pricing and product features of your competitors? Do your own research but remember government census figures or information from local or industry specific trade groups can also help here.


3. Present your offering
Detail what baked goods you will sell. This is called your business offering. Will it be pies, cakes, doughnuts, breads, ethnic-baked goods or specialty items such as gluten-free products? Are you planning to include custom-made orders, such as birthday or wedding cakes, or after school cupcake decorating for kids? Mention your plans in this section and explain, from the viewpoint of your market and competitor research, why you chose to offer these particular products or services. You should include details on who you are partnered with, your combined expertise and any other pertinent information on your business operations in this section. Maybe you have hired an accountant to handle the administrative side of things so you can bake to your heart’s content. This information needs to be clearly understood by potential investors. It also makes your business plan the full story of how you are running your bakery.

4. Write your marketing plan
All business owners know they have to market, but now with your earlier steps in place you can really look at what and how you will market and to which people. Your earlier steps should make it easier for you to see where your strengths lie, what competitive edge you have in the marketplace, what niche you can fill and which products should be in high demand. Outline all of this together with any other promotions, advertising or public relations efforts you will be making. What will your daily specials be? What discounts will you offer on any products that don’t sell immediately?

5. Project financial returns
Never forget you are running a business and your income must be greater than your expenditures or you will not survive, let alone flourish and prosper. With all the earlier information from your business plan you can now project how things might be expected to go financially. You will need to list out all your costs and all your possible sources of revenue. See things with a critical eye and look at how to tighten up some of the ideas you want to create with your bakery. With the information your business plan provides, you can ensure your ideas are going to deliver what is needed to make the bakery a successful business and you can tweak them where they look like they might fall short or enhance them where they seem even better than you had imagined.

6. the executive summary
Particularly if you plan to use your business plan to generate financing, you should include an executive summary. This would go at the beginning of your business plan. However, only after you have done the earlier steps and written your business plan can you really see everything in summary. Include the highlights from everything you have done earlier and you will have a plan. Not only can you use a business plan to obtain financing, but it can be a tool when re-evaluating your business going forward, a focal point for your marketing and promotion, a key to what branding makes sense for your business and so many other things. Maybe you just enjoy baking and that’s fine, but don’t neglect this vital step. It will be much easier for you to translate your love of baking into the kind of business success you want and need so you can continue baking!

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. She is recognized as an industry leader in providing innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or, or visit

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